10 Ways to Affordably Create an Outdoor Oasis

How do you get the most from your home’s outdoor areas in the era of sheltering in place? Here are 10 high-impact remodeling ideas to revamp your outdoor space.

With stay-at-home orders becoming the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are spending more time at home than ever before.

Increased home confinement leaves more of us searching for ways to optimize home space to accommodate ourselves and our families.

As millions of Americans transition to remote work, we’re struggling to adapt spare rooms into home offices.

For those with children, this is an extremely challenging time. Staying indoors for hours is a painful experience for parents of young kids, and an undeserved punishment of sorts for active young people.

So how do we make more space to alleviate these issues?

Many homeowners are turning to their yards and patios. After all, even a small patch of outdoor space provides a welcome relief from the cabin fever of your basement.

Here are a few ideas, taken from Sundae home renovations, to give you inspiration for converting outdoor space into your own personal getaway.

1. Go for the green!

This option is arguably the most important. If you don’t already have one, we strongly suggest you look into adding a lawn to your property. If you have children or pets, creating grassy space for them to play practically pays for itself. Along with this, homebuyers always look for yards when they’re shopping for a new home, so adding a lawn will instantly make your property stand out. Doing Sod provides instant gratification as the grass is already grown. However, by seeding your lawn with proper irrigation you should see bright green in only two short months.

2. Build a Pergola for your back patio

Build a pergola

Since COVID-19 began, more and more people are finding that they spend the majority, if not all of their time, at home. Creating space in our yards for us to either work or relax is a must, especially for those living in areas blessed with constant sunshine. Building a pergola is much less expensive than a full covered patio, but still adds shade and interest to your backyard. With a little ingenuity this could be a great DIY project that is guaranteed to add value to your home.

3. Install a paver patio

Install paver patio

While outdoor patios are typically made of concrete slabs or wood planking, a paver patio can be a less-invasive take on creating an outdoor living space. It’s a lot less expensive, too. Not only is this option easier to install, but it’s also visually appealing and works with several home styles.

4. Install an outdoor fan for your patio

Install outdoor fan

If you already have a patio with electricity in your backyard and are spending more and more time out there due to shelter-in-place, you might find that it gets a little warm from time to time. An inexpensive fix to this problem is to install an outdoor ceiling fan. Fans are easy to install and will save you from the heat in the long run. NOTE: We recommend hiring a licensed electrician to do any electrical work.

5. Build a fence or repaint your fence

Build a fence

Privacy is one of those things that people hold important, especially when it comes to their homes. If you don’t have one already, consider adding a fence to your back or front yard. Not only will the addition of a new fence enhance the appearance of your home, but it also creates a strong sense of security. If you already have a fence, you should ask yourself when the last time you repainted it was. Repainting your fence will give your property a quick facelift especially if you are planning to sell soon.

6. Invest in patio furniture

Invest in patio furniture

If you already have a patio or area to sit in your backyard, you should strongly consider investing in outdoor furniture. Outdoor space is so important during this time, investing in good outdoor furniture will encourage you to spend more time in the free air. You don’t have to break the bank but get something you love and that way you can enjoy your space that much more.

7. Plant trees in your backyard

Plant trees

This option is more expensive than the other ones, but is arguably the most gratifying project. Adding saplings to your property will not only add value to your home, but if you are planning on staying there for the long haul, you’ll get the satisfaction of watching them grow year after year. If you plant fruit trees, you’ll be able to look forward to some tasty treats that will grow each year.

8. Cover dirt with gravel

Cover dirt with gravel

If you currently have a dirt backyard, consider covering parts (or all of it) with gravel. Gravel looks much better than dirt, and also makes for more usable outdoor space. A gravel floor covering makes it easy to install lounge furniture, a fire pit, or dining area without having to worry about the mess of a dirt floor. It also won’t turn to mud when it rains.

9. Refresh your exterior paint

Refresh paint

You should repaint your home once every five to ten years. This is basic home maintenance. Not only does adding a fresh coat of paint make your home stand out, but it will add to the overall value of your home when it comes time to sell. Painting your home is a doable but not easy feat. If you are uncomfortable painting your home, then you can hire a local painting crew. Consider painting your home the same color as it has been, or if you’re feeling adventurous, look at paint samples at your local hardware store and go with a new color! If painting the whole house isn’t in your budget, consider freshening up your trim or power washing the exterior to give your home some new life. This could be a fun project for the whole family.

10. Add plants to your yard

Add plants to yard

Curb appeal is crucial. When friends, family, or potential homebuyers show up at your house, the first thing they see is your front yard. Why not make it shine? Simple yard maintenance is easy and will definitely help make your home stand out against your neighbors. Adding plants is the first step in the process. Not only does a healthy yard look good, but it is a fun project for you to undertake. Since we are all spending a lot of time at home these days, consider carving out some time for watering plants or trimming shrubs. Buying young plants is very cost effective. Space them out so that over time they can grow into the garden of your dreams.

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Dalas Dodd

Dalas Dodd is Sundae's Interior Design Team Lead. In this role Dalas is integrally involved in efforts to redesign and restore dated and damaged houses, with an emphasis on preserving the original character and charm of each home. Prior to Sundae, Dalas was a designer and project manager with Wedgewood Inc., a California-based real estate investment and rehab company.